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Safety Tips for Handling Woodwork Machines

June 14, 2018 2 min read

Woodwork can be both a fascinating job or a highly satisfying hobby. However, like any other technical hobby or business that requires the use of tools, you need to follow certain rules to ensure your enjoyment and safety.

Be attentive
For both occasional hobbyists and professional woodworkers who spend all day in a wood workshop, fatigue is a threat to their safety. You should never operate woodwork machines if you feel tired or are otherwise impaired. This is because it can have a negative influence on your decision making and will encourage shortcuts.

Follow basic safety rules
In the workshop, there are some basic rules that help to avoid most accidents resulting from the use of woodwork machines. Among these are keeping your fingers away from spinning blades, not wearing loose-fitting clothing while you work and taking care to prevent any activities that could result in kickback from a table saw. You should also be careful when handling chemicals near machinery and wear face masks to avoid breathing in sawdust.

Take advantage of safety equipment and features
When using power tools, you must always wear ear protection and safety goggles. Murphy’s Law is seldom wrong; the one time you fail to wear your safety glasses because they are at the far end of your workshop is the time something flies up and hits your face. Make use of safety features for your table saw such as blade guards and riving knives. Kickback can also be avoided by using a feather board, which keeps the stock held firmly on the fence of a saw while cutting.

Maintain your woodwork machinery and tools
A dull tool is dangerous; this is an old adage that all professionals should live by. This is because, when a tool loses its edge, it becomes unpredictable. As you gain experience with woodwork machines, you learn how they shear and cut. If, for instance, a chisel is not as sharp as it should be, it tears instead of cutting, which could lead to breakage or loss of control. If your tool is dull, it also forces you to exert more force than is necessary, further lessening your control of the machine and making it dangerous to you and anyone around you.

The final word
When handling woodwork machinery, fear is your best friend and will help you instantly identify anything that does not feel right. If you do not feel confident about a particular machine, then do not use it until you have addressed your concerns.